January 9, 2010 / 12:34 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Target takes on celebrity chef, buys Smith & Hawken

* Launching Giada De Laurentiis for Target cookware, food

* De Laurentiis to become spokeswoman for Target groceries

* Buys Smith & Hawken brand

* Target shares close down 0.4 pct (Recasts to add Smith & Hawken purchase)

By Nicole Maestri

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Target Corp will sell an exclusive line of Food Network chef Giada De Laurentiis’ cookware and food, it said on Friday, and that it acquired the Smith & Hawken brand in two moves that indicate the retailer plans to focus more on individual brands.

Target said De Laurentiis will become a spokeswoman for groceries and that starting this month, the company will introduce the “Giada De Laurentiis for Target” line, including cookware, such as a cast iron panini grill pan for $69.99, and specialty food, such as whole wheat penne rigate for $2.79.

Target spokeswoman Jana O‘Leary said De Laurentiis will tout the retailer’s groceries and develop cooking tips for shoppers that will highlight Target’s own brands, such as Archer Farms. O‘Leary could not comment on whether De Laurentiis will appear in Target’s television ads.

The partnership comes as Target looks to appeal to frugal shoppers, who are spending more time at home cooking meals instead of heading out to restaurants.

Meanwhile, Target has acquired the Smith & Hawken brand and other intellectual property from Smith & Hawken, a subsidiary of The Scotts Company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The retailer already sells Smith & Hawken’s outdoor furniture, gardening and decor products through an exclusive line, which has been available at stores since 2006.

“We believe the Smith & Hawken brand complements our existing portfolio of owned brands,” Target’s executive vice president of merchandising, Kathee Tesija, said in a statement.

    The acquisition of the high-end gardening products brand sets up the retailer to expand that line.

    Scotts said in July 2009 it planned to close the 56-store chain by the end of the year, after failing to find a buyer for the unit. The lawn-care company bought Smith & Hawken for $68.5 million in 2004.

    Target’s sales faltered during the recession as consumers stopped splurging on its trendy clothes and home decor, and stuck to buying basics, such as food or medicine.

    To compete with grocery stores and larger rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), Target is introducing its “P-fresh” concept -- an expanded selection of grocery items in its general merchandise stores -- to more stores.

    It said the Giada De Laurentiis for Target collection will range in price from $6.99 for a nylon spoon with a stainless-steel handle to $199.99 for a 10-piece cookware set.

    Target shares closed down 20 cents at $50.07 on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Additional reporting by Jui Chakravorty Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Derek Caney, Bernard Orr

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